NEIL WARNOCK admits Middlesbrough are in “desperate” need of a new signing at left-back – but Mick McCarthy has told the Teessiders they will have to significantly increase their initial offer if they are to sign Ciaron Brown.

Boro are short of natural left-back options at the moment, with Marc Bola currently unavailable and Hayden Coulson out of favour, and seemingly set to join Ipswich Town.

Djed Spence played at left wing-back in the first half of last night’s 2-1 defeat at York City, with winger Isaiah Jones playing as an attacking wing-back in the second period, but Warnock will not want to have to go with either of those options for Boro’s opening Championship game at Fulham a week on Sunday.

“We’re not too bad at the back, but I’m desperate for another left footer,” admitted Warnock. “You can see that tonight (at York).

“We’re all lop-sided really. It's so natural to have a left sider in those areas. We have another couple of weeks yet, so hopefully (something will happen).

“We have to work hard (on bolstering the squad). We want to give it a go this season.”

Brown is one of the players Boro have been pursuing in the last few days, and McCarthy has confirmed the Teessiders have submitted a formal offer for the 23-year-old, who has entered the final year of his current deal at the Cardiff City Stadium.

However, the Bluebirds boss claims Boro’s offer well short of Cardiff’s valuation, and remains hopeful Brown will opt to remain in South Wales.

“There’s three things that can happen there, I guess,” said McCarthy. “I don't want to sell Browny, I've offered him a new contract and I'd like him to stay.

“Neil, yes, I've spoken to Neil, he's made an offer. Nowhere near enough. Browny is in his last year (of his contract). So, if Neil Wants to offer something that’s anywhere near our valuation, even though the player has only got 12 months to run, then we may have to sell him. We don't want him to go on a free transfer.

“If not, he'll stay here on the contract he's on until the end of the season. I expect he will play and continue to play and compete just like he always would.”